Playbill Vault’s Today in Theater History: November 21


1694 Birthday of French author François Marie Arouet, better known as Voltaire, whose satirical novel Candid serves as raw material for the 1956 Leonard Bernstein/Lillian Hellman/Dorothy Parker musical.

1888 Birthday of Adolf Marxbetter known as Harpo, silent brother of the marx brothers comedy team, seen on Broadway in I will say she is, animal crackersand Coconutsand a character from the biographical musical minnie’s boys.

1933 Birthright only has seven performances at the 49th Street Theater. Richard MaibaumThe play deals with the suffering of a German Jewish family under the Nazi regime.

1934 With lyrics and music by Cole Porter, everything is fine opens at the Alvin Theater. The cast includes Ethel Triton, William Gaxtonand Victor Moore in the race of a year and more. The book, about cabaret singer Reno Sweeney and Public Enemy No. 13 chasing an ocean liner bound for France, is provided by Guy Bolton, PG Wodehouse, Howard Lindsayand Russell Crouse. Songs include “I Get a Kick Out of You” and “Blow, Gabriel, Blow”.

1944 George S. Kaufman directs his own screenplay The late George Apleybased on Pulitzer’s novel John P. Marquand. Leo G. Carroll plays the title character and the production ran for 384 performances at the Lyceum Theatre.

1979 Walkerbased on a story by Leo Tolstoycomes to the Helen Hayes Theater after being first seen at the Chelsea Theater Center. Gerald Hiken plays the role of a horse named Strider and is saddled with the role for 27 weeks.

1983 Gary Trudeauthe cartoon of Doonesbury comes to life in a Trudeau musical and Elizabeth Swados. It only ran 104 performances at the Biltmore Theater, but featured several future stars: Gary Beach, Kate Burtonand Mark LinnBaker.

1994 Eileen Atkins and Vanessa Redgrave star in the Zoe Caldwell-directed Vita and Virginia, based on correspondence between Vita Sackville-West and Virginia Woolf, at the Union Square Theater. Atkins previously played Woolf in a 1991 Off-Broadway stage adaptation of A room of one’s own. This show, which The Times calls a “literary tea party for two”, has 29 performances.

1999 carol burnet raise a glass with other partygoers John Barrowman, Georges Hearn, Ruthie Henshalland Bronson Pinchot as they try Put together at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre. The cocktail party is a facade to carry out a “review” of the songs of Stephen Sondheim. The show was conceptualized and created by Sondheim in 1992, when it was produced in London by Cameron Mackintosh. He then came to Off-Broadway with Julie Andrews. Now finally on Broadway, the show has run to 101 performances.

2004 The nationwide tour of Disney’s new musical On the filewith more than 50 songs from the Disney catalog, bows at Cleveland’s Palace Theater, featuring Emily Skinner and Brian Sutherland. It continues until the summer of 2005 but does not go to Broadway.

2010 Simon Bentit’s Elling, an odd couple comedy about two inmates of a mental institution trying to live on their own, opens on Broadway at the Ethel Barrymore Theater. Directed by Doug Hughesthe cast includes Brendan Fraser, Denis O’Hare, Jennifer Coolidge, Richard Eastonand Jeremy Chamos. The production ends the following Sunday, after 9 performances.

2011 For the first time since they dazzled audiences in the original Broadway production of AvoidedTony winners Patti LuPone and Mandy Patinkin share a Broadway scene in An Evening with Patti LuPone and Mandy Patinkin. The duo perform songs such as “Everything’s Coming Up Roses”, “The God-Why-Don’t-You-Love-Me Blues”, “Don’t Cry For Me Argentina”, “Oh What a Circus” and the famous bench scene Carousel. The limited engagement includes 63 performances at the Barrymore Theatre.

2013 The world premiere of Amanda Peetit’s The Commons of Pensacola opens Off-Broadway at Manhattan Drama Club. Blythe Danner and Sarah Jessica Parker star in the play about a woman who was forced out of her luxurious New York life after her husband’s Wall Street scam made headlines.

2017 Billy Crudup plays a shy Midwestern man posing as a nerd Londoner in David Calesingle player game Harry Clark, opening Off-Broadway at the Vineyard Theater. The production ran twice at the Vineyard, then moved to the Minetta Lane Theater for a return engagement.

More birthdays from today: Viviane Blaine (1921-1995). Will B. Able (1923-1981). Marlo Thomas (born in 1937). Robert Drivas (1935-1986). Laurence Luckinbill (born in 1934). Lorna Luft (born in 1952). Larry Hochman (b. 1953). Cherry Jones (born in 1956). Moisés Kaufman (born in 1963). Carly Rae Jepsen (born in 1985).


Put it together on Broadway

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